Farm to cruise table – Luxury ingredients are served with a side of sustainability at all the best onboard dining rooms now, writes Vanessa Wu.
Cruise lines are adding sustainability to their menus and creating luxury dining experiences that don’t hurt the planet. They are sourcing produce from sustainable and local farms, which is helping to reduce their carbon footprint by ensuring the food doesn’t have to travel far to reach your dining room table. Sourcing ingredients in this way also benefits local producers, economies and communities, meaning cruise ship visits are giving back to their destinations. When necessary ingredients aren’t available locally, lines are increasingly seeking out sustainable suppliers further afield.
We explore the luxury ingredients in the larders of top cruise chefs.
Regent Seven Seas
Regent Seven Seas always purchases bush tucker ingredients when it arrives in local waters to prepare special dishes on board. Guests are introduced to native ingredients like bush tomatoes, Davidson plums, lemon aspen fruit, munthari berry, wild limes and bunya bunya nuts in dishes such as the rolled wattleseed pavlova with rosella confit created by Australian guest chef and native food expert, Vic Cherikoff. They also stock up on local produce like Tasmanian salmon and cheeses, Morton Bay bugs, crocodile fillet, kangaroo meat, emu, barramundi, mussels, fruits and vegetables.
The line schedules provisioning from major cities to ensure a constant supply of fresh, local food. They source fresh seafood from a mix of local and US suppliers; Australian seafood on their menus include oysters from Eden and prawns, crab and lobsters from Cairns. Australian lamb is also a highlight on onboard menus.
On Seabourn, restaurants such as The Grill by Thomas Keller aim to use high-quality local ingredients wherever possible. This depends on the itinerary and season, but it can include steaks and chops from California and Pennsylvania and lobster from Bedford, Nova Scotia. The line also serves sustainable caviar from Californian producer Sterling onboard. The caviar is harvested from native white sturgeon that are raised in carefully controlled conditions to produce firm, richly flavoured eggs that Sterling salts and ages to attain its signature buttery texture and flavour.
Viking Ocean Cruises
The line offers a regionally inspired menu enhanced with locally sourced ingredients in their main dining venue The Restaurant. In Australia, that means ingredients like North Queensland barramundi, Hervey Bay scallops and even New Zealand monkfish. Viking Cruises also hosts an interactive dinner experience where the chef takes guests to purchase fresh produce and interact with local producers in preparation for the cooking class and dinner party that follows.